Live With Eternal Perspective Podcast Episode 059 Building Biblical Self-Esteem in Children
Welcome to the Terri Hitt – Live With Eternal Perspective Podcast
Episode #059 – Building Biblical Self-Esteem in Children
Thank you for entrusting and investing your precious time with me to grow in Jesus together. I am blessed to be back with you to discuss more ways to live with eternal perspective.
Last week on the podcast we explored building biblical self-esteem. This is such a huge topic to cover, yet it boils down to a very simple truth. When we build our confidence in the Lord, we find that our faith in self is bolstered and connected to the only source that is able to sustain, rebuild, and perfect us. We no longer have to flounder or attempt to prove ourselves. This world no longer holds us captive in what culture or experiences attempt to shape us to become. We are finally free to fully explore who we were created to be and as we view ourselves through God’s perspective, we begin to place Him, then others, above us in a humble, respectful, and serving way that fills us more deeply than before.
If you are a parent, your solid dependence on, and confidence in God, built through Jesus, is one of the strongest gifts you can give your child.
As you mature in God, and you lovingly model that relationship to your children, you begin to instill a legacy of faith that will confidently carry them for generations.
Why is it that mothers purpose to carry such heavy loads to ensure that our children have the best education, opportunities, clothes, beautifully decorated bedrooms, etc., yet many do not place the importance of a solid biblical foundation and maturing walk with Jesus at the top of their endless list of what truly matters?
I understand. As you may know, I have already raised one set of precious children to adulthood. Once they were raised, God placed a special yearning, a calling, on the hearts of my husband and myself. Neither of us had the desire to begin raising children again. It was truly the Holy Spirit working within us. As our first two were growing up, we were happy and knew we were blessed to have them, but we were 18 and 21 when we had them, so we understood that we would still be young when they reached adulthood! We actually looked forward to that time. We were both still in our thirties when both of our children had already graduated from high school.
God, however, had other plans. Once He let us in on the first step, we knew He had blessed us beyond what we ever expected. Our world took a drastic turn as He carried us to a completely new life with new goals and expectations. We brought our infant daughter home from China when I was 44 years old. A 26 year difference in age when beginning another family set is tremendous, yet God infused us with delight, health, and energy for the next phase of living and His plans for us.
Because I was finally purposely maturing in my walk with Christ daily and was being granted the opportunity to parent from scratch again, I treasured moments to seek God through prayer and soul-searching decisions. My husband and I knew that we were not the same people we were at 18 and 21. What did we want to change? This was our opportunity.
We were blessed to explore what our parenting priorities would be. What was God whispering to our spirit? What did He tell us was important to Him? We prayed a lot individually, but also as a team. God was the center of our marriage and we wanted our child to be raised knowing Him as the center of their life, as well. My husband and I wanted to fully honor and obey God this time. Although I believed we made some right choices raising my first set of children as we grew in Christ, I realized how far I had been from truly resting in God and making Him known in the ways God had made known to me as I matured in Him. We were good parents before, but I knew in my heart we were more worldly than godly as we parented. I didn’t even know Jesus when I first became a mother. I knew it would be our focus this time to raise a child who chose Jesus over culture and that God would be an integral part of each day.
Why am I saying all of this?
It is imperative that we examine our parenting in light of what God would say if He were in the room and you were seeking counsel from Him.
Remember this: He is with you. We should be seeking Him moment by moment through prayer. Our Heavenly Father is a Good Father. God made each of us. He knows what type of parent you are, where you need help, where you need to change, what you need to release to Him, what you need to be on our knees more for, and exactly what each of your children need. He placed them with you for a purpose. He desires you to rely on Him and to mentor them to do the same.
One of the crucial areas of raising a child is instilling them with godly, biblical self-esteem. Since last week we discussed the topic of self-esteem in adults, I believe it is important to follow-up this week with the topic of our children. I feel that I did not serve my children or the Lord well in this area the first time I parented. It wasn’t that I didn’t give my children time. I was there for them. They knew how much my husband and I loved them. Yet, we built their confidence and self-esteem more on what this world measures and on them believing in themselves.
At that time, I wasn’t as adept at finding the gifts God gave each of them and helping them grow their skills for the Lord. I didn’t teach them to seek God’s will to find the purpose He had for them in a way that used what talents and interests they possessed and gave that service back to Him. Of course, I prayed and thought I was doing a good job at the time, but the truth is that I was not yet mature enough in my personal faith to know what I was lacking. My children did not receive the best measure of confidence they should have received in the way God desires them to receive it – from Him.
Parenting is beyond challenging. We are raising humans! Even when we are mature followers of Christ, we will never know all of the answers. The closer we are to living as Jesus, the more we cling to Him, the more adept we become at meeting the needs our child carries. How? Because we submit and allow Him to work through us.
We will never be perfect, but God doesn’t expect us to be. He does, however, desire for us to parent with a focus on Him and a mind and heart set on raising children to know, honor, and obey Him.
One way to do that is to create purposeful ways to instill biblical self-esteem in our children and teach them to find identity through Him and the biblical truths God has established. Let’s examine the best methods to build esteem and identity that focuses on and honors God.
You might wonder if self-esteem and Identity are the same. The two are slightly different, but do affect each other.
Identity reveals how you perceive yourself. It is who you think you are and is directly tied to your sense of self-worth, since it shows how you define yourself.
Self-esteem exposes the value you see in yourself. As followers of Jesus, we understand that God establishes identity in us when He plans our life, even before He places us in the womb. God already defined and valued each of us and our children before we were ever born.
Psalm 139:13-18 says, “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, You are still with me!”
In this broken world, identity can easily become questioned or twisted when our self-esteem is not built on God’s loving truths. This is a lengthy list, and much of it pertains to us, as well as our children.
You don’t need to try to remember or write all of these suggestions down. Please visit terrihitt.com and print the transcript for this podcast or contact me at email@example.com and I will send you the list.
1. Build personal identity and worth through God. When parents have a strong and maturing relationship with the Lord, our act of parenting becomes more loving and godly.
2. Let your child see you live a confident and bold life of faith and trust in God.
3. Teach your child God’s word when they are young – right from the beginning of their life, or as soon as you have them.
4. Raise your child to understand God’s love and grace – but also their need for repentance through Jesus.
5. Let your child know you are a sinner, too. Tell them about your walk with Jesus in age appropriate times and words. Teach them how important Jesus is to you.
6. Bring God into all areas of life. He is the Creator of all things. God should be valued, recognized, praised, worshipped, and discussed naturally and flow seamlessly into all aspects of daily life and conversation.
7. Raise your child to value Jesus more than culture – because you do.
8. Let your child know that you are raising him to know God because He commands you to in His word and because you love Him and want to obey Him.
9. Spend one-on-one time with your child. Love them through their “love language.” Let them know you love them for simply being themselves, not what they accomplish. When your child feels valued by you, they are more likely to believe God finds them valuable and lovable.
10. Let your child see you read the Bible regularly.
11. Read the Bible with your child. Discuss readings and write or memorize scripture together.
12. Encourage them to read their Bible independently, as well.
13. Help them to lead family prayers or worship sometimes.
14. Pray together. Let your child know you pray for them. Ask them to pray for you, too.
15. Point out ways God would have your child handle disappointments, situations, others, etc in a loving, patient, understanding manner. Teach them to seek Him in all ways.
16. Compliment your child often for godly character, morals, integrity, etc.
17. Look them in the eye as you speak to them. This one is hard. I know at our house we move so much and are busy, but if you are like me, make it a point to seek eye contact as often as you can. Stronger connection and love are built through looking fully at each other.
18. Limit electronic time.
19. Monitor books, magazines, television, movies, music, attire, etc. Study the elements of faith versus worldly values that are included in the materials your child uses. Each one helps to shape their identity and eternity. Even some music that is labeled Christian is far from it. Popular books, shows, and some educational resources also quietly and sneakily undermine God’s morals and desires for your precious child. Review materials with a pure and prayerful heart. Don’t be afraid to restrict what God prompts you to.
20. Help your child discover their gifts, talents, and interests. Find ways they can use them for God.
21. Help your child find God’s purpose for them. This is key in helping them build a strong identity.
22. Serve together.
23. Set godly boundaries for your child, and follow through with correction when needed. Remember that correction is not shame or punishment.
24. Do not attempt to be your child’s best friend. Point them to God and help them rely on Him first.
25. Let your child know the wisdom of this world will be contrary to God’s.
As we discussed earlier, self-esteem is linked to what our child believes about himself. When he has been taught to build esteem for self on what God’s opinion of him is, your child will carry a much higher value of self. Not surprisingly, the greater biblical value he places on himself, the healthier he will be overall. He will also become more joyful and able to accept and handle stress and worry because he is learning to release it to God. When this is the case, your child is also more apt to be honest and trustworthy.
In contrast to this type of self-confidence and value, if your child bases self-worth on secular views, he is more likely to blame others for his mistakes and failures, use words as weapons against himself and others, lie, avoid challenges and hard work, carry more stress and worry, have less friends, desire isolation over community, have poor eye contact, and see no need for God in his life.
Mark 10:13-16 says, “One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could touch and bless them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering Him. When Jesus saw what was happening, He was angry with his disciples. He said to them, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” Then He took the children in his arms and placed His hands on their heads and blessed them.”
Jesus desires children to know Him. He longs for them to willingly choose Him and not be held away. The heart of a child is open to the truth and love of Jesus more than at any other time in his life. God wants children to know they are loved and valued, that they were created on purpose for a unique function only they possess.
Matthew 10:29-31 says, “What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.”
God knows that in order for them to be healthy, a child must begin building a focused sense of esteem through God and His value of him.
Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Instill God’s truths and desires in your child. Let him know that God cares and loves him with a passion we cannot comprehend, but know to be true. Back up the truths you teach your child with God’s word and a loving spirit, so he thirsts for God and the Bible himself. Help him develop an instinctive habit for turning to God throughout his lifetime. Of all the plans we make for our children, all of the preparations for their future, helping them build a solid foundation of faith, identity, and self-esteem based on God’s value of them should be at the top. At the end of their life, it will not matter whether they attended college, what their grades were, how well they played sports, whether they made the dance team, or how many friends they had. All God will care about is whether Jesus knows your child as His own and if he lived his life as God desired. Every choice and action your child makes will be based on what he believes about himself, and what his identity and self-esteem are built on and molded from. It will prove what your child believes about eternity. Help him to begin living with an eternal perspective now.
Dear Heavenly Father, we thank you for the blessed opportunity to parent your children. What a privilege we have to be entrusted with them for such a time as we are together in this world. Father, help us to mold and build the proper relationship with you ourselves so that we can model a life as close to Jesus as possible. Help us to rely on You to know and lead each child we have in the ways you desire. We know so little, Lord, and the task is mighty. We need you! Help us, Father, to guide our children straight to you and teach them to find identity through You and to esteem themselves to be humble, yet mighty in You. Help us to remain on our knees as we parent, Lord. May we grow in You with each day and shine You into the hearts of our children. May we be a great blessing that leads them straight to You so they may receive the joys and blessings You have for them now and for eternity. In Your precious and holy name we pray. Amen.
Thank you for listening to this episode. Be sure to sign up for my email list to be notified when my next resource, “Scattering Seeds: Planting Character and Faith in Your Child” releases. This free eBook is an excellent encouragement and support for mothers or grandmothers of young children.
Please visit terrihitt.com to access podcast episodes housed in one convenient location, read blog posts, transcripts, and access additional resources designed to mature your walk with Christ and encourage you to raise or influence children to chase Jesus instead of this world.
I pray this podcast draws you nearer to Jesus and helps you cling to Him, despite any circumstances in your life. Until next week, keep looking Up and find new ways to Live With Eternal Perspective.